Tag Archive: james durbin


http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20110516/ap_on_sc/us_space_shuttle

By MARCIA DUNN, AP Aerospace Writer Marcia Dunn, Ap Aerospace Writer 30 mins ago

CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. – Endeavour blasted off on NASA’s next-to-last shuttle flight, thundering through clouds into orbit Monday morning as the mission commander’s wounded wife, Gabrielle Giffords, watched along with an exhilarated crowd estimated in the hundreds of thousands.

NASA is winding down its 30-year-old shuttle program before embarking on something new. The event generated the kind of excitement seldom seen on Florida’s Space Coast on such a grand scale — despite a delay of more than two weeks from the original launch date because of an electrical problem.

The shuttle quickly disappeared into the clouds.

“That was four seconds of cool,” said Manny Kariotakis, who was visiting from Montreal. The 50-year-old got goosebumps watching the liftoff with thousands along Highway 1 in Titusville.

Just before launching, commander Mark Kelly thanked all the who put hands “on this incredible ship.”

“It is in the DNA of our great country to reach for the stars and explore. We must not stop,” said Kelly, who also thanked “all of the millions watching today.”

Remarkably, Giffords made a return visit to see Kelly off. She is still undergoing rehabilitation in a Houston hospital to recover from a gunshot wound to the head in an assassination attempt little more than four months ago.

The Arizona congresswoman was shielded from the cameras on launch day, as were the families of the other five astronauts. All watched the liftoff in private.

Giffords has kept out of the public eye since the Jan. 8 shooting that wounded her and killed six in Tucson, Ariz.

She and Kelly said their goodbyes, face to face on Sunday.

With Kelly at the helm, Endeavour and its experienced crew of five Americans and an Italian are headed for the International Space Station. They will arrive at the orbiting outpost Wednesday, delivering a $2 billion magnetic instrument that will seek out antimatter and dark energy in the universe.

Up to 45,000 guests jammed into NASA’s launch site, and thousands packed area roads and towns to see Endeavour soar one last time. Only one shuttle flight remains.

VIPs included Apollo 11’s Michael Collins and four other members of Congress.

Advance estimates had put Monday’s crowd at 500,000, more than the number that saw Discovery’s final hurrah in February. Across the Indian River in Titusville, though, the number of spectators appeared to be down compared with Endeavour’s previous launch attempt on a Friday afternoon.

Titusville Assistant Police Chief John Lau guessed the crowd at between 350,000 and 400,000.

“I don’t know if it was the early morning or what,” Lau said.

Electrical trouble grounded the shuttle on April 29, disappointing the hordes of visitors, including President Barack Obama and his family. Repairs over the past two weeks took care of the problem.

“God Speed Endeavour We’re ready for you!” space station resident Ronald Garan Jr. said in a Twitter update. At launch, the space station was 220 miles high, just southeast of Halifax, Nova Scotia.

Kelly almost didn’t make the flight.

The 47-year-old Navy captain took a leave from training to be by his wife’s side after she was wounded, and it seemed unlikely he would stay with the flight. But Giffords improved and was moved from the hospital in her hometown of Tucson to Houston where Kelly lives and does astronaut training. Her days were filled with rehab work, and he yearned to see the shuttle mission through. A month after the shooting, he announced he would fly.

“Everybody felt that this was the right thing for me to do,” he said at the time. He added that his wife “is a big supporter of my career, a big supporter of NASA.”

He rejoined his crew in February, still managing to see his wife across town every morning and evening.

Giffords’ visit to Kennedy Space Center — the third time she’s seen her husband soar into space — ratcheted up the excitement level for what already was a big event, said launch officials.

Kelly’s identical twin, Scott, who’s also an astronaut, witnessed the launch with his two teenage nieces, Mark’s daughters from a previous marriage.

This is the 25th and final flight of Endeavour, the baby of NASA’s shuttle fleet. It was built to replace Challenger, destroyed during liftoff 25 years ago this past January, and made its maiden journey six years later to capture and repair a stranded satellite. That first flight ended 19 years ago Monday.

Endeavour carried the first Hubble Space Telescope repair team, which famously restored the observatory’s vision in 1993, and the first American piece of the space station in 1998.

It will end its days at the California Science Center in Los Angeles.

As of Monday, Endeavour had logged more than 116 million miles, circled Earth some 4,500 times, spent 283 days in space and carried 170 people, including the last two people to fly a space shuttle for the first time. American Mike Fincke and Italian Roberto Vittori are making their first flight on a shuttle although they’ve been to the space station twice, ferried their by Russian Soyuz rockets.

Fincke will team up with Andrew Feustel and Gregory Chamitoff for four spacewalks during the 16-day mission. It will be the last spacewalks conducted by a shuttle crew.

NASA’s last shuttle flight, by Atlantis, is targeted for July. After that, Atlantis will remain at Kennedy, where it will go on display at the visitor complex. Discovery will head to the Smithsonian Institution’s hangar outside Washington.

American astronauts, meanwhile, will continue to hitch rides to the space station on Russian Soyuz rockets. Private companies hope to pick up the slack, but that’s still years away.

Once Atlantis flies, it will be three years — at best — before Americans are launched again from U.S. soil. Some NASA observers fear it could be a full decade.

The White House wants NASA focusing on eventual expeditions to asteroids and Mars, unfeasible as long as the shuttles are flying given budget constraints.

Ohioan Stan Oliver made a last-minute trip for the launch. The assisted-living residence manager got a ticket to Tampa and then drove Sunday night to Titusville, where he slept in his car.

“This is a once in a lifetime event,” said Oliver, 41, who lives near Dayton. “It was worth it. The roar was intense. I’m glad I came.”

___

AP writers Seth Borenstein and Mike Schneider in Titusville, Fla., contributed to this report.

___

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http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20110516/ap_on_re_as/as_pakistan_bin_laden

 54 mins ago

ISLAMABAD – According to a joint statement, the U.S. and Pakistan have agreed to work together in any future actions against “high value targets” in Pakistan.

The two countries made the announcement Monday following a visit by U.S. Sen. John Kerry to Islamabad. Kerry is the chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee.

Relations between the two countries have been badly strained following the U.S. Navy SEAL raid that killed Osama bin Laden on May 2.

U.S. officials have said they didn’t tell Pakistan about the operation before it happened, because they were worried bin Laden might be tipped off.

THIS IS A BREAKING NEWS UPDATE. Check back soon for further information. AP’s earlier story is below.

ISLAMABAD (AP) — U.S. Sen. John Kerry says he and Pakistani leaders have agreed on a “series of steps” to improve their nations’ fraying ties.

The senator did not specify what those steps are but he says they will “be implemented immediately in order to get this relationship back on track.”

Kerry was in Pakistan on Monday amid high tensions over the U.S. raid that killed Osama bin Laden in the South Asian country’s northwest.

Pakistan says the raid violated its sovereignty.

Kerry insists the secrecy surrounding the May 2 raid on bin Laden was crucial to assuring its success, and that he himself did not learn of it until afterward.

American Idolhttp://www.hollywoodreporter.com/news/american-idol-fans-upset-james-188281#start

They air their frustrations on THR’s Idol Worship blog.

American Idol fans of James Durbin aren’t thrilled he was sent home Thursday. On The Hollywood Reporter’s Idol Worship blog, several fans sounded off. Among the comments:

“James is the best ever as contestant in IDOL,” wrote one, adding that the only reason Scotty McCreery remains in the competition is because young girls “voted for him.”

Another wrote: “Saddened to see you go tonight James. Have been watching, voting, praying for you. You have amazing talent and please continue to go forward, as there is something better out there for you. A group of us DURBIN cousins do genealogy and are trying to locate the connection of all of our line. Would like to get in touch with you to share our Durbin Family Tree. Good Luck to You in your future and enjoy every moment of life with that precious little boy Hunter. God Bless You.”

“I promise that James will be so famous,” a third viewer weighed in. Calling Durbin “a rock star,” the viewer predicted he will nab “many record deals …  Haley will be forgotten in the next few month[s] … Just look at youtube and see how many hits on James videos and how many on Haley’s? James is now Free to make his bright life. go James and we will see you on stage. for me the Idol 2011 is already over. No more fun without James and stupid Judges who gave Haley standing ovation. for what for a singer who sings like Bar Karaoke Singers who are drunk and looking for tips!!!”

Said another: “This just reinforces my thoughts about the judges for this years edition on “Idol”. These judges have done a huge misjustice to the contestants by not being truthful in their comments. They seem to be absolutly afraid to step on anyones toes by giving them a bad review. All they can do it seems, is praise them, even though at times, some of the performances were horrid!!!….. Then the voters vote accordingly it seems to me….Obviously, the people doing the majority of the voting wouldn’t know talent if it bit em’ on the ***. And that’s too bad. But in this “call in” foremat, that’s what you end up with. People with the good sense to know talent & evaluate it properly, generally have more to do that sit & dial the phone over & over like a zombie. That’s too bad, but it’s a reality…..Haley is absolutly horrible when it comes to singing. She should never ever have made it this far! In reality, she shouldn’t have made it past the first roudn of auditions. And Lauren is strictly OK.”

“This makes two of the best talents I’ve ever seen voted off Idol, Adam Lambert and now James Durbin,” wrote Linda G., a viewer from Birmingham, AL. “Both deserved to be American Idols. James could sing the phone book and be entertaining. He already has fantastic stage presence and has proven himself to be an entertainer, not just a singer. I hope he is able to fulfill all of the dreams he has for his family.”

“I really thought that James would win it, but in my heart I know he will suceed [sic],” added another fan. “He is the best that I ever saw on the show. When he becomes the GREAT artist that we know he is. I will be there to support him 100%. Good Luck James, you RULE!!!!!!!!”

One viewer even refuses to watch now that Durbin is gone.

“I’m just too disgusted,” the person wrote. “Plus, why watch without James there? The other don’t have that much talent at all.”

http://new.music.yahoo.com/blogs/realityrocks/422489/idol-top-7-results-night-a-21st-century-boy-goes-home/

Well, after 52 million votes, and about 52 minutes of filler, on Thursday another overlong “American Idol” results show came to an end, along with Stefano Langone’s “Idol” run. This was no huge surprise, considering that he was a Wild Card to begin with, and had been in the bottom two the last couple of weeks, although I must say he did give his best performance of the season this week with Ne-Yo’s “Closer.” But Stefano took the bad news in stride, exhibiting the same class and sportsmanship he always has on difficult results nights, and pointing out that as someone who almost didn’t make the top 13 at all (and once nearly died in an accident), he was lucky to have made it this far.

Honestly, it was Stefano’s roommate, James Durbin, who seemed way more upset. The moment Ryan Seacrest announced that it was Stefano–and not the other contestant in the bottom two, Jacob Lusk–who was getting the boot, Stefano’s BFF lost it, openly breaking into sobs with his face in his lap. And at the end of Stefano’s goodbye performance, of Stevie Wonder’s “Lately,” James rushed up, hugged Stefano from behind, and swung him around in the air. Aw. It was truly sad to see this bromance break up…but also sad to see Jacob so blatantly ostracized.

Really, as the contestants said their goodbyes over the end credits, Jacob seemed like the odd man out, hovering on the sidelines exchanging icy handshakes. It appeared that James, and possibly some other contestants, would have preferred that Jacob go instead. The poor guy must have felt awful–kind of like that night when Stefano got booed after he stayed over Pia Toscano.

As for the last spot in the bottom three, that came down to Haley Reinhart and Scotty McCreery. It seemed that Scotty might finally find out what it’s like to feel the cold molded steel of those bottom-three stools (his performance this week was unanimously panned, plus he went first in the kiss-of-death slot, while Haley did Adele proud). But of course, the invincible Scotty was safe yet again. However, at least Haley, who was also undeservedly in the bottom three last week, didn’t have to sweat too much, as she’d barely had a chance to settle into her stool before Ryan whisked her back to the comforting couch, stage-whispering in her ear, “You’re safe!”

For now, that is. But if Haley keeps landing in the bottom three after dynamite performances like this week’s, how much longer can she survive? Apparently America prefers female singers who try to ape Lady Gaga–like tonight’s guest performer Katy Perry, who sang “E.T.” in some sort of bizarre, LCD-enhanced, queen-of-the-sea-monkeys outfit. What happened to Katy’s cute little ’40s pin-up onesies and original rocker-chick style? Or her old “Adam Lambert” Vegas cape?

And finally, speaking of guest performers, Season 7 champ David Cook, “someone who never felt the sting of rejection” as Ryan put it, was a bright spot, triumphantly returning to the show to sing his fun and Foos-y new anthem, “The Last Goodbye.” (What a fitting title for a results show, huh?) In terms of showmanship and onstage professionalism, Cookie totally showed the top 7 (who’d just slaughtered Train and Coldplay in two typically corny group numbers) how it’s done. But audio-wise, David’s performance lamentably seemed a little off, as if he couldn’t hear himself properly. Did the same sound techs who botched Jacob Lusk’s performance Wednesday night work on David’s too? Well, at least David’s mom seemed happy, since she was mainly there to meet Steven Tyler. Mama Cook got her wish, hugged Steven a little too snugly (David cocked an eyebrow and mock-sternly told Tyler, “We’re gonna have to have a talk once the cameras are off”), and even flashed the metal horns. NowI see where her rocker son gets it from.

Parker out!

http://www.hollywoodreporter.com/idol-worship/american-idol-recap-scotty-mccreery-175786

For Rock and Roll Hall of Fame week, the night started off with just the right superstar talking points: Paul McCartney, Jimi Hendrix, Janis Joplin, Elton John, James Brown… Will.I.Am? Errrkay. The week’s co-mentor is a Jimmy Iovine crony — and a serious hitmaker in his own right — much like Gwen Stefani, who styled the Top 9 in her own L.A.M.B. line (it must be said: did Gwen also dress Randy Jackson, or is he auditioning for a spot in the Black Eyed Peas?) Neither was seen in the studio audience, according to our own Shirley Halperin, but Todd Rungren was along with Christian Slater (more on him later), pimping his new Fox show Breaking In. Also spotted in the house: Season 8 finalist Scott MacIntyre and his fiancée Christina Teich, who canoodled every chance they got. 

Up first was Jacob Lusk, who said that he changed his song from “Let’s Get It On” to “Man in the Mirror” because his moral code prevents him from conveying that raunchy a message or something like that. Then, he threw down a challenge: if he ends up in the bottom 3 on Thursday night, then America “wasn’t ready to look at themselves in the mirror.” Ok, Jacob — way to triple dog dare the audience. We’ll see how that works out for you. 
 
As for the performance, Jacob seemed to be having trouble with his in-ears at the beginning of the song so he just yanked them out. He then sang a duet with Naima… Ok, not Naima, but Siedah Garrett, who co-wrote the Michael Jackson hit. Jacob looked a little awkward trying some hip swivels, but I like him working with a partner. Too bad he didn’t try to do something that had a little more rock in it.  After beckoning Garrett back out and crediting her with writing the ‘greatest song ever written,” Steven Tyler then gave his standard critique: “that was beautiful.” Steven, please do us all a favor and try another adjective. Jennifer said Jacob makes us feel like we can do anything (except get it on, perhaps?). Randy was proud of him and said he had “Jacob moments all over the place.” 
 
Haley Reinhart probably has the best shot on a rock-and-roll-themed night, with that Janis Joplin growl on “Piece of My Heart. It was time that she embraced the Joplin comparison, but if you’ve never seen footage of the legendary singer, check out one of the greatest moments at WoodstockMelissa Etheridge also absolutely KILLED it performing the same song at Woodstock 94 decades later. So Reinhart had big shoes to fill Wednesday night, and she had the rock look down decked in leather, but for some reason hiding her legs in pants (a bummer for Idol’s few male viewers, no doubt). Still, she brought it down with a bluesy finish that had Jennifer growling while speaking — it’s infectious! Jennifer said the competition was off to a strong start and Randy agreed, welcoming Haley back for the umpteenth time this season. Steven credits Janis with giving rock and roll “the voice in 1968,” and Haley brought it back. A mighty big compliment for what was by far Haley’s strongest performance, even if I still see her as Miley Cyrus’s long lost twin. 
 
For Casey Abrams to do “Every Little Thing She Does Is Magic” the same week the mighty Constantine Maroulis returns to the stage was a tall order. Even Jimmy warned him that he sounded too Vegas, so Casey changed his song as well, even deciding to bring out the upright bass. It turned out Creedence Clearwater Revival and John Fogerty’s vocal was a much better match for Casey. Though he’s still gritting his teeth when he sings, which puts me off every time, this was a fine performance. Randy told him that he made CCR proud, and proclaimed him a revolutionary for making the upright bass cool again. Steven called him a “true musician,” and Jennifer said she would pay top dollar to be in the front row, which is, of course, a fraction of what she pays for a pair of her Louboutin shoes. 
 
Lauren Alaina came next with Aretha Franklin’s “You Make Me Feel Like A Natural Woman” which had Christian Slater cheering in the audience. Lauren’s country spin holds up and is pleasant enough but I’ve heard it done better. Still, Jennifer called her amazing, and Randy wasn’t jumping up and down, but alluded to people in previous seasons (ahem, Kelly Clarkson) who sang the heck out of that song. Steven loved her voice and was borderline drooling over Lauren, telling her, “You came here an immature little girl. Now you’re a natural born woman.” Walk this way, Lauren. Walk this way.
 
James Durbin also referenced a past Idol, channeling the Adam Lambert look on his slowed down version of The Beatles’ “While My Guitar Gently Weeps.” I understand James trying to turn in a more subtle performance a la Adam, but the song’s lower register threatens his pitch. He can’t help himself, though, and lets out a wail at the end. He even, yes, weeped. Jennifer and Randy loved his sensitive side, and advised him that chances like these advance careers. As for Steven, perhaps he needs a reminder that George Harrison was in the Beatles when he wrote that song.
 
Bringing out the country side of rock was Scotty McCreery with “That’s All Right, Mama” by Elvis Presley, and for the second time, we got an upright bass!  Scotty grew up idolizing Elvis, and dagumit, he sounded like him on Wednesday night! If you closed your eyes and listened, it was as if the King were there possessing young Scotty (his hip swivels even rivaled Jacob’s). The unlikely teen idol this season had girls bum-rushing the stage (orchestrated by Nigel Lythgoe, says Shirley) but left me wondering: did Elvis hold his microphone to the side? Just putting it out there. Randy announced that we were witnessing the “new Scotty,” while Jennifer wanted to know if Scotty watches rap, because she feels some “flavor.” Um, not so much. Steven, in classic form, whips up another Tyler-ism, “I thought you were all hat, no cattle.” 
 
As promised, Pia Toscano took on Tina Turner’s “River Deep Mountain High.” I would have preferred “Proud Mary“ but that’s just me. Meanwhile, Gwen dressed her like a lamb. As in Mary Had a Little Lamb. I have to hand it to Pia, she is so in control of her vocals, it’s scary. She even used pyrotechnics, and actually moved around the stage. Christian Slater’s daughter also loves Pia, and I’m having trouble seeing my dreamboat from “Heathers” as a dad. Sigh… Jennifer told Pia how special she is and declared that her mission is to make Pia even greater. Randy was pleased that Pia can deliver an up-tempo song and I was loving Pia’s jewelry. Steven made another head-scratching quip: “There’s a million guys, in a million bars, having a million drinks about you tonight.”  Again — what? He really is becoming the male version of Paula!
 
Still looking for connection, Stefano Langone chose Percy Sledge’s “When A Man Loves a Woman.” Coached by Will.I.am and Ryan Tedder, they tried their best to get him to be more Percy and less Michael Bolton. Stefano kept his eyes open, used his sweet falsetto, and engaged in a way we haven’t seen yet, but he was nearly wheezing towards the end and I still felt like I was on a cruise ship (Simon Cowell, come back!). Jennifer was, of course, super proud of him, and cried out “Baby, baby, I knew you had it in you!” But Randy wasn’t feeling it, instructing Stefano to let the song marinate. So Idol is now a cooking show. 
 
Idol’s “imperfect boy” and Vote For The Worst’s love child Paul McDonald considered toning down Johnny Cash’s “Folsom Prison Blues,” but Will.i.am and Jimmy disagreed, advising him to do all kinds of crazy things, like drink his own spit and get all “method” with his hair. It’s unclear whether Paul listened, but he nevertheless redeemed himself with impressive energy, nearly attacking the guitarist with some crazed dance moves. It’s a barn burner, y’all! Randy gave him three words, “I loved it,” and Jennifer said the performance was right in Paul’s lane. It all led to a raucous end to the show as the contestants boogied through the credits, but was it enough to erase the stench Paul left on stage last week?
 
Bottom 3 this week? I call Jacob (because he dared me), Stefano, and a toss up between Paul and Lauren. What say you, Idol Worshipers? 

James Durbin, the American Idol contestant often compared to Adam Lambert for his heavy metal edge and high-pitched wail, literally dazzled viewers—and the judges—March 16th with on-stage pyrotechnics during his rendition of Jon Bon Jovi’s power ballad, “I’ll be There for You.” Along with his flashy showmanship, the 22-year-old rocker from Santa Cruz, California has an inner fire that has propelled him to the top 11 so far in the competition, despite the challenges of battling two often misunderstood disorders: Asperger syndrome and Tourette syndrome.

At age 9, Durbin lost his father, a musician, to a drug overdose. After his dad’s death, he was put on medication for stress and a sleep disorder, then was evaluated at Stanford Medical Center, where he was diagnosed with Asperger syndrome (AS), a high functioning form of autism, and with Tourette syndrome (TS). “As I was getting older, at school people would tell me, ‘Cut that out! Stop that!’ …I always got made fun of, beat up,” Durbin recently told Idol viewers, adding that when he sings, “it all just goes away, like I don’t have a care in the world.”

Dan Ackroyd is another celebrity who has both conditions, which frequently occur together and are three to four times more likely to strike males than females. The two disorders are thought to have genetic component, and researchers recently discovered a gene for a neurological syndrome that includes autistic behaviors. If inherited factors trigger AS and TS, that could be a concern for Durbin, who has a toddler son with his fiancée, Heidi.

Check out this research suggesting the role of genetic testing in autism.

Although involuntary swearing (coprolalia) is the best-known symptom of Tourette syndrome, only a small minority of people with TS have this problem. The condition, which affects about one in 100 Americans, is a neurological disorder that triggers involuntary movements and vocal outbursts called tics. These symptoms often start between ages 7 and 10 and tend to be worst during the teen years.On Idol, Durbin has shown such characteristic symptoms as blinking and facial twitches. Another Idol contestant reportedly affected by TS is Arkansas’ Dave Pittman who appeared on season 9. 

For a detailed explanation of Tourette syndrome, click on this video.

Other TS symptoms include grimacing, head or shoulder jerking, repetitive throat clearing, hopping, grunting, and barking. About 200,000 Americans have a severe form of TS that may spark self-injury, such as people punching themselves in the face, uttering swear words, and compulsively repeating the words and phrases of others. Some people with TS can learn to camouflage their tics. Most don’t need medication, but drugs may be prescribed if the tics are severe enough to interfere with daily activities.

Asperger syndrome is a developmental disorder that can cause repetitive rituals, obsessions, oddities of speech, such as talking in a monotone, shouting or taking figures of speech literally, eccentric behavior and inappropriate facial expressions, trouble connecting with peers, and clumsy movements. It affects about one in 5,000 Americans and is associated with normal intelligence. There is no single treatment, but kids with Asperger syndrome can benefit from social skills training, cognitive behaviorial therapy, medication for co-existing problems like depression or anxiety, speech therapy and support from parents and teachers. Many adults with AS hold jobs, though Durbin is unemployed and prior to being on the show, was so broke that at times, he and his fiancée couldn’t afford diapers for their toddler.

Learn to recognize symptoms of mental health disorders, such as ADHD in kids. 

“The thing about Asperger’s is that it’s about social awkwardness and not being able to contain yourself and being overwhelmed…” Durbin said on Idol. He is one of the most emotional contestants, known for crying easily.  Still, despite his disabilities, he has connected so well with judges Randy Jackson, Jennifer Lopez, and Steven Tyler that they deem him one of the competition’s frontrunners. “I have Tourette’s and Asperger’s, but Tourette’s and Asperger’s don’t have me,” he declared in an Idol interview. “I’m doing what I can to suppress it. It’s not who I am.”

Photo: Getty Images

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http://health.yahoo.net/experts/dayinhealth/american-idol-finalist-james-durbin-defies-tourette-syndrome-aspergers

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